Tag Archive for traffic safety

Vision Zero is not a fad — and it’s not making our streets more deadly

A traffic safety denying op-ed in the Wall Street Journal claims both. And couldn’t be more wrong.

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No Morning Links today.

I had planned to take Martin Luther King Jr. Day off, and post some inspirational words to remind us all to treat everyone like our own brothers and sisters, especially in these turbulent times.

But I felt it was necessary to address an op-ed that was inexplicably published in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, without the apparent benefit of senior editors or fact checkers.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a massive four days worth of links to the latest bike news stories from over the weekend.

Today we’re going to discuss Vision Zero, road diets and traffic safety deniers.

Because sometimes, these people just piss me off.

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Awhile back, I coined the term traffic safety deniers to describe people who reject the well-established science of traffic safety.

Just like climate change deniers reject the established science behind climate change, for no other reason than they choose not to believe it, or the experts in the field, evidence be damned.

Like lawyer and writer Christopher D. LeGras, who penned a virtually fact free, alternative universe op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, claiming that Vision Zero is nothing but a “road diet fad.” And that it’s having the opposite effect of what is intended, by somehow magically increasing the death toll on our streets.

Or I should say former lawyer, since he apparently gave up his membership in the bar to write full time, resulting in a collection of short fiction published by the small LA-based imprint Rare Bird Books.

Unfortunately, his op-ed reads like a work of fiction, as well.

He starts innocently enough, telling the tale of a 65-year old woman who broke her leg falling on the sidewalk in Mar Vista, suffering a compound fracture. And says it took the fire department paramedics ten minutes to get there, even though the station was just five blocks away.

But in which direction, he doesn’t say.

Yet somehow extrapolates that to blame the road diet on Venice Blvd — and every road diet everywhere else — and Vision Zero in general.

Los Angeles, like cities nationwide, is transforming its streets. In July 2017 the city installed a “road diet” on a 0.8-mile stretch of Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista, reducing four lanes to two and adding bike lanes separated from traffic by parking buffers. The project is part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in the city by 2025. Launched in 2015, Vision Zero is the most radical transformation of how people move through Los Angeles since the dawn of the freeway era 75 years ago.

By almost any metric it’s been a disaster. Pedestrian deaths have nearly doubled, from 74 in 2015 to 135 in 2017, the last year for which data are available. After years of improvement, Los Angeles again has the world’s worst traffic, according to the transportation research firm Inrix. Miles of vehicles idling in gridlock have reduced air quality to 1980s levels.

Well, it ain’t necessarily so

Problem is, the road diet on Venice was part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets program. A community driven project that had been in the works since 2015, and had nothing to do with LA’s Vision Zero, which was only announced in August of the same year.

In fact, Vision Zero in Los Angeles was just vaporware until the Vision Zero Action Plan was released in January, 2017 — two years after community groups began work on a Complete Streets makeover of Venice Blvd, and the same year the Mar Vista Great Streets project was installed.

Never mind that the road diet on Venice reduced it from a massive six lanes to a more manageable four, to reduce crossing distances to improve safety for pedestrians and increase livability.

Not two lanes, as LeGras inexplicably claimed.

Then there’s the claim that pedestrian deaths spiked in 2017, two years after Mayor Garcetti announced the Vision Zero program.

But somehow, before any significant work had been done on Vision Zero, because the action plan, and the High Injury Network it’s based upon, weren’t even released until that year.

Not to mention that none of those pedestrians were killed on streets where Vision Zero improvements had already been installed. So rather than being the fault of Vision Zero in some vague, unidentified way, they can be blamed on the dangerous, deadly LA streets that Vision Zero is intended to fix.

Which is about like blaming the vet because your cat got pregnant after he fixed your dog.

And don’t get me started on LeGras’ laughable implication that Vision Zero is somehow responsible for LA’s worsening traffic and air pollution.

Traffic is bad on streets throughout the LA area, including the other 85 or so other cities in LA County that don’t have Vision Zero programs. Let alone on the streets that haven’t seen any Vision Zero improvements at all. Which is most of them.

Oddly, traffic also sucks on most, if not all, LA-area freeways, which have yet to see a single bike lane or road diet.

The reason LA traffic is getting worse is a population that’s growing by an estimated 50,000 a year, with most of the new arrivals bringing cars with them, or buying one as soon as they get here.

Along with countless kids who receive or buy a car as soon as they’re old enough to drive, resulting in four or five cars cramming the driveways of many family homes. When they’re not out helping to cram the streets.

Combine all that with a record number of miles driven in the US last year, as lower gas prices encouraged more people to drive more. Something that’s reflected in dropping ridership on LA Metro, as more people switch from buses and trains to private vehicles — adding to the traffic LeGras complains about.

And no, LA air quality is nowhere near 1980 levels.

Then again, he also seems to confuse normal traffic congestion with gridlock — defined as a situation in which drivers are unable to move in any direction.

If you can get through a traffic light in two or three cycles, or turn in any direction to get out of it, it ain’t gridlock.

It’s traffic.

By my count, that’s six false statements in just two paragraphs. Unfortunately, he didn’t stop there.

Nothing succeeds like the successes of Vision Zero

Like the next paragraph, where he somehow concludes that light rail lines have anything to do with Vision Zero. (Hint: they don’t.)

Or the following one, where he implies that Vision Zero projects in the Big Apple have failed to make significant improvements. Even though, after five years of Vision Zero, and countless road diets and other safety projects, New York traffic fatalities are at their lowest level since motor vehicles took over the streets. And pedestrian deaths are at their lowest level since 1910.

While bicycling fatalities have gone up in New York, that’s more reflective of a massive 150% increase in ridership as more people feel safer on the streets.

And rather than leading to increased traffic congestion, the changes have actually improved traffic flow.

While individual firefighters may complain that bike lanes delay response in emergencies, as LaGras claims, the facts don’t bear that out.

In fact, more fire departments are realizing that safety improvements on the streets reduce the need for dangerous emergency responses. Which means fewer people they have to scrape up off the streets and try to patch back together.

Meanwhile, more enlightened cities are deciding that is better to build fire engines that fit the streets, rather than widen streets to fit the fire engines.

The myth of the Foothill Blvd evacuation disaster

Then there’s this.

During the 2017 La Tuna Fire, the biggest in Los Angeles in half a century, a road diet on Foothill Boulevard the in Sunland-Tujunga neighborhood bottlenecked evacuations. After the fire a neighborhood association voted to go off the road diet. The city ignored the request and instead added another one to La Tuna Canyon Road.

That’s a myth that has been circulating in the anti-road diet, traffic safety denier community for some time.

While the road diet on Foothill has unfairly gotten the blame, the real problem stemmed from the closure of the 210 Freeway further up the road. Traffic backed up from that closure down to, and through, Foothill Blvd — not from Foothill back.

Officials never considered it a serious enough problem to remove the bollards protecting the bike lanes, or to introduce other emergency measures, including contraflow lanes, on Foothill.

I’m told that an engineer involved in the evacuations said that people on Foothill were never in danger. And fire officials said they had no problem getting through.

With or without a road diet, relying on private motor vehicles to evacuate any population center will always be problematic, as cars break down and run out of gas, and fallible human drivers try to squeeze in and turn around without sufficient space to do so.

LeGras is correct, however, that a road diet was implemented on deadly La Tuna Canyon, following the near fatal crash that left Keith Jackson in a coma for three weeks.

One of the few things he got right.

But rather than reducing road space, it merely reduced the amount of traffic lanes in places — leaving exactly the same amount of space available in the event of an emergency as there was before.

He closes this way,

It’s noble to want to make America’s streets as safe as they can be. But government officials shouldn’t impose projects on communities that don’t work, inconvenience residents, hurt businesses and impede emergency responders in the process.

Had he bothered to do the slighted bit of research, he might have discovered that most people like the Complete Streets that result from the implementation of road diets and bike lanes.

And that road diets and bike lanes have proven good for businesses across the US. And Canada, too.

Emergency response times tell the real tale

As for impeding emergency responders, let’s go back to that 65-year old Mar Vista woman with the broken leg.

A ten minute response time in any emergency should be unacceptable. But countless things can take place to delay emergency responders that have nothing to do with road diets.

It took far longer than that for paramedics to arrive when my father-in-law suffered a fatal heart attack. And that was in a residential neighborhood, in the afternoon, before Vision Zero and road diets were a gleam in Eric Garcetti’s eye.

Responders can be delayed by the same sort of traffic congestion you’ll find on any other major street in Los Angeles, with or without road diets or any other form of traffic calming or safety improvements.

Never mind motorists who don’t have the sense to pull to the right like the law requires. Which seems to be the majority of LA drivers these days.

But if there was a significant problem, it would show up in the fire department’s response times. Yet the average response for Mar Vista’s Station 62 is just four seconds slower than the average EMS response for the city as a whole.

Four seconds.

I sincerely hope Renee Khoury’s mother Rebecca recovers completely from her broken leg.

As for Mr. LeGras, it’s probably a good thing he’s not practicing law anymore, if he built his cases on such flimsy, easily disproven evidence.

But I do hope he continues to write.

Judging from this op-ed, he should have a fine future in fiction.

Thanks to Alissa Walker and Felicia G for their help in researching this piece.

Morning Links: Sneak attack on traffic safety, BAC meets tomorrow, and ebikes benefit people with disabilities

Call it a sneak attack.

Over the weekend, supporters of traffic safety deniers Keep LA Moving tried — and failed — to get the LA Neighborhood Council Coalition on the record supporting a total ban on road diets.

The factually incorrect motion, which traffic safety supporters found out about less than 24 hours earlier, was tabled until next month after it met overwhelming opposition.

Here’s the full text of the motion, in case you want to mark your calendar for the next meeting.

BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen wrote a powerful message opposing the ban.

Today’s photo comes with a wish for a Happy Chanukah to all those celebrating this week.

Chanukah Sameach!

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The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will hold their regular bi-monthly meeting tomorrow night in the conference room of the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall, 6501 Fountain Ave.

The committee is the only official voice for bicyclists in city government. Even if elected officials usually just ignore it and hope it goes away.

Click to enlarge

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Today’s common theme is ebikes.

Or more precisely, the way ebikes and other bikes can benefit people with physical limitations.

Curbed’s Alissa Walker calls ebikes a game changer for people who need them.

And makes a point I’ve been making for some time now.

A 2018 study by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities that surveyed 1,800 e-bike riders found that they bike more often, take longer trips, and make different types of trips than they do on pedal bikes. Plus, not only did more respondents feel safer riding an e-bike than they did riding a pedal bike, the percentage of people who felt safer on an e-bike was even greater when the respondents were women, over 55, or had physical limitations.

“E-bikes are making it possible for more people to ride a bicycle” reads the study, “many of whom are incapable of riding a standard bicycle or don’t feel safe doing so.”people

There are a number of bicyclists, especially roadies, who think ebikes are cheating.

I know, I used to be one of them.

And there many people who think older people and people with handicaps can’t ride bikes.

They’re both wrong.

Because unless you’re racing, bicycling is not a competition. Whether you’re riding for pleasure or transportation, anything that makes it easier to get on a bike is a good thing.

For the person doing the riding, for their community, and for the environment.

And ebikes make it possible for people who otherwise couldn’t ride a bike — because of age, physical condition, the length of their commutes, or any number of other problems — to get out and ride like anyone else. Going further and more confidently than they otherwise could.

Or at all, for that matter.

There’s another quote from the story that sums it up.

E-bikes are not a substitute for safer infrastructure, but they could help move more riders from “Interested but Concerned” to “Enthused and Confident.

And that’s a good thing. For all of us.

Meanwhile, a Boulder CO newspaper talks with a bike shop owner who says he used to be dismissive of ebikes, until he realized their benefits for people with physical limitations.

A British survey shows 72 percent of disabled bicyclists use their bikes as mobility aids, but half of respondents are afraid of being seen riding them for fear of losing their benefits.

And more than a quarter of the disabled commutes in Cambridge, England are made by bike.

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Speaking of electric mobility devices, apparently they’re a wise choice. And not just limited to humans anymore.

https://twitter.com/therourke/status/1068875942473404422

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Sad news, as longtime Tour de France commentator Paul Sherwen died unexpectedly at his home in Uganda; no cause of death was announced.

He was 62.

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It’s Day 11 of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive.

Your generosity helps keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day, from around the corner and around the world.

Anything you can give helps. And is truly and deeply appreciated.

Thanks to Adrienne G and Alan C for their generous donations to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

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Local

By all accounts, yesterday’s Heart of LA CicLAvia was another successful event. But it comes just days after the organization was sued by a woman who suffered a brain injury when a careless rider clipped her wheel.

A sports tech website talks with LA-based former pro Phil Gaimon about the tech he uses and life as a YouTube star.

 

State

A San Diego bike rider suffered life-threatening injuries when he was struck by a driver, who claimed he never saw the victim until he was in front of him. Unfortunately, that’s not too surprising; let’s hope investigators get a warrant for the driver’s phone.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on how to buy a women’s bike, and their recommendations for the best bike in 11 different categories.

The Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Walmart talks about his passion for mountain biking, saying he’s learned some of his best business lessons from the saddle. Something I can relate to; I often did my best work while riding my bike.

It may be a few years since their last basketball title, but the University of Kentucky can celebrate a national championship as the nation’s most Bicycle Friendly University.

A pair of New York bike advocates and engineers say they’ve figured out the exact optimal traffic signal timing to improve safety for everyone and ensure the highest number of green lights for both drivers and people on bikes.

A Virginia landscaper had the truck towed to be repaired and ordered employees to say a worker had hit a deer, instead of the bike rider he’d hit in a work truck and left to die on the side of the road.

 

International

An Op-Ed on Calgary website says traffic laws must reflect the new transport options, including dockless e-bikes. Meanwhile, the Calgary bike boom goes on, even in the winter months, after the city built out a network of protected bike lanes.

Sidewalk riding is a complicated issue, according to an Ontario, Canada letter writer in part because of poorly designed bike lanes and the people who drive in them.

The Guardian looks at who is behind the effort to have one of London’s most popular cycle superhighways ripped out, pointing the finger at a property company, and truck and taxi drivers.

A British man rode 3,200 miles from LA to New York in just 34 days — arriving at the airport half an hour before his flight back home.

A new paper by an English researcher argues that yes, drivers really do pass bicyclists who wear bike helmets closer than they do bare headed riders.

Brit mountain biking legend Hans Rey was the victim of bike thieves, who took eight bicycles, including custom bikes and bikes that aren’t currently available in the country.

Thanks to a new Dutch bike rack design, your bike could power the city.

Madrid bans cars built before 2000, and diesel vehicles built before 2006, from driving in the city center to battle air pollution. Los Angeles will need to do the same for the entire county if we’re going to meet pollution, let alone climate change, goals.

Malta’s prime minister suggests widening the roads to make more room for all road users, while creating preference lanes for bikes, buses and electronic cars.

Tel Aviv is building a 68-mile network of bike trails in an effort to become the Amsterdam of the Mideast.

After the first of the year, you’ll need a special driver’s license to operate an ebike in Israel.

More grist for the climate change mill, as a New Zealand study shows that bike lanes and pathways do, in fact, coax people out of their cars, resulting decreased emissions.

Australian football legend James Hird suffered a broken leg when his bike was hit by a driver.

 

Competitive Cycling

Anyone can win a bike race; the Eurosport website recounts the cycling world’s most spectacular flops of 2018.

Aussie cyclist Mark Renshaw will miss a number of events Down Under after he suffered a fractured pelvis when a driver when through a stop sign.

Cycling Tips talks with women’s cycling legend Marianne Vos about getting her grove back this year.

A roadie discovers he can do more than he thought, completing a 78-mile gravel race despite fears caused by a recent runaway heart rate.

 

Finally…

No, seriously. If you’re riding a bike with crack and purple heroin, put a damn light on it, already. Call it Waze for bikes.

And yes, Vladimir Putin is one of us.

Morning Links: Possible LA bike registry, who we share the roads with, and a powerful call for traffic safety

The Los Angeles city council voted to reinvent the wheel on Friday.

Despite several free, nationwide bike registry programs — including Bike Index, which this site links to — the council voted to explore creating its own registry program.

Never mind that the cost of administering such a program would likely exceed the amount it would bring in.

Or that the city council cancelled LA’s existing bike registry nearly ten years ago after it was almost universally ignored, and nearly impossible to use.

And that police officers too often used it as an excuse to pull over and search bike riders of color.

Then there’s the problem that all thieves had to do to escape discovery was take stolen bikes to one of the 87 other communities in LA County, where the LA bike registry wasn’t used.

What’s really needed is voluntary, countywide — if not statewide — registry.

Until that happens, Los Angeles is a lot better off partnering with one of the existing free bike registries.

And promoting the hell out of it.

Full disclosure: Neither this site, or I personally, receive any compensation for hosting the Bike Index bike registration program here. I just effing hate bike thieves, and want every stolen bike to find its way back home.

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This is who we share the roads with.

A road raging Denver driver fatally shot a 13 year old boy, and injured three other members of the boy’s family after following them to a parking lot and briefly arguing with the boy’s mother. Then told police he has mental health issues after admitting to the shooting.

So why was he allowed to own a gun — let alone drive a car?

Meanwhile, a Toronto bicyclist was tailgated through a narrow alley by a driver who kept honking his horn, and yelling “Looks like another dead cyclist.”

And commenters fall over themselves congratulating an Indiana state trooper after he tweets about ticketing a driver for not speeding in the left lane. Thanks to Chris Klibowitz for the heads-up.

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Powerful piece from a Toronto columnist, who says we know how to make roads safer, we just have to do it.

He writes that New York eliminated fatalities on Queens Blvd, aka the notorious Boulevard of Death, where 186 people were killed between 1990 and 2014.

How did they do it? As summarized by the Times, they narrowed and removed some car traffic lanes, and decreased speed limits by five miles per hour. They increased the amount of time given to pedestrians to cross the street and increased the number of pedestrian crossings. They redesigned sidewalks at intersections to narrow the crossing in some places. They introduced bike lanes and larger medians protected by barriers to the road. They added cameras with photo radar near schools.

If you want to make roads safer, you can. How to do it is not a mystery. Slow traffic down through laws, enforcement and — especially, crucially — design improvements. Put infrastructure on the street to protect cyclists and pedestrians. Pay close attention to intersection design. Voila.

He goes on to add that Stockholm, Sweden, the birthplace of Vision Zero, has a fatality rate just one third of New York or Toronto.

Stockholm didn’t cut its fatality rate dramatically by educating people and more strictly enforcing laws. The Swedes did it by slowing urban traffic and by re-engineering their roads to reduce serious injuries and fatalities. “Most of the people in the safety community had invested in the idea that safety work is about changing human behaviour,” Matts-Ake Belin, one of the architects of the program, told CityLab in 2014. “Vision Zero says instead that people make mistakes … let’s create a system for the humans instead of trying to adjust the humans to the system.”

Lower speeds, better protections, designs that discourage collisions and encourage safety.

We know what works. We can see its success even on the so-called Boulevard of Death. The obstacle to ending our own killing streets is not knowledge. It’s caring enough to bother applying it.The

Maybe some day, Los Angeles will care enough, too.

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Organizers of a British triathlon threaten to permanently ban racers who were responsible of undertaking a woman riding a horse on a trail, crashing into the side of the horse in their rush to pass unsafely.

And yes, both the horse and its rider were wearing hi-viz.

Seriously, it takes a special kind of schmuck to pull something like this on a public right-of-way, race or not.

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Local

Metro is teaming with the Mid City West Neighborhood Council to offer a free class on how to ride safely on city streets; participants will also receive a free helmet and bike lights.

The executive director of Los Angeles Walks calls for dedicating one or two parking spaces per block for shared bikes and scooters, rather than parking them on sidewalks.

Yo! Venice reports bike theft is on the rise in the seaside community, which is already one of the city’s hotspots for bike theft. And recommends registering your bike to help get it back if it’s stolen.

 

State

A Fresno bike shop’s troubled spring took a turn for the worse when one of their customers collapsed and died on one of the store’s group rides; a fundraising page has raised over $1,700 of the $2,500 goal for his family.

A San Francisco bike rider is suing the city and county, as well as a construction company, after she broke her wrist falling on debris in a construction zone.

Caltrans will widen shoulders and install bike turnouts along Highway 1 in Marin County to improve bike safety, as well as installing “mumble” strips along the center line, which are quieter than rumble strips.

 

National

GeekWire tries out one of Uber’s Jump dockless bikeshare ebikes as they begin moving into Seattle. The bikes are already available in the Bay Area, but haven’t begun a southward migration yet.

A retired Kentucky journalist discovers that he lives just off a US bike route, and stumbles onto a cross-country Bike MS ride.

Milwaukee bike advocates have declared 100 Days of Biking to celebrate the trails, rides, events and people that make the region special.

The son of the founder of Crain’s Detroit creates a lot of pro-bike blowback after his myopic, windshield-biased screed complaining that city planners are “discriminating against cars in favor of two-wheeled transport.”

An eight-year old New York program extends the joy of bicycling to people with visual or physical disabilities by pairing them with a partner on a tandem bike.

Despite needing a number of improvements, bicycle traffic often exceeds motor vehicle traffic during rush hour on New York’s Chrystie Street, where a protected bike lane was installed two years ago.

 

International

A stuntman offers advice on how to crash your bike while keeping your body and dignity mostly intact. I offer my own hard-earned lessons on how to crash on the Survival Tactics page above.

A Vancouver TV station says ebikes are revolutionizing people’s commutes.

While Vancouver residents prepared to celebrate a pair of Car Free Day open streets events, a local TV station can only see through the prism of their own windshield bias, warning of a traffic hell for motorists.

Saying “this is why we can’t have nice things,” organizers threaten to pull the plug on a popular Windsor, Ontario bike ride because of the behavior of a handful of riders.

The Montreal Gazette examines how to coax commuters out of their cars and onto bikes.

Toronto condo owners are being warned not to trust locked bike rooms in their buildings, which are being targeted by thieves. Which is fair warning for bike riders anywhere — don’t trust bike rooms or garages without extra security of your own.

A 13-year old boy was arrested in the death of a Toronto bike rider who was intentionally run down, then kicked, beaten and stabbed by the occupants of the car.

A UK bike rider says the country’s mental health services have failed him, as he’s suffered from PTSD after finding the body of a suicide victim while biking to work two years ago.

A British reporter discovers first hand the abuse and harassment women on bikes experience on a daily basis.

A researcher calls for a mandatory helmet law in Norway, after a meta-analysis shows helmets reduce the risk of head injuries by 60%. Even though the experience in other countries shows that helmet laws reduce the injury rate by reducing the number of people riding.

A riot broke out at an Eritrean cycling festival after opponents of the country’s president barged in throwing bottles, food and beer kegs; nine people were injured, including children.

Another ride to add to your bike bucket list — experiencing the unique biology of Madagascar by bike. And as long as you have your bucket list out, here’s eight more epic cycling tours around the world.

In a major turnaround, two-thirds of Aukland, New Zealand residents now believe bike lanes are good for the city and would welcome them in their own communities. This should be a lesson for Los Angeles; the opposition to bike lanes disappeared as more were built and people began using them.

An Aussie columnist says it’s time to end the bad blood between drivers and people on two wheels. Funny how it’s only the ones who ride bikes who call for a truce on the streets; it’s almost as if most drivers don’t even know there’s a problem.

Caught on video: A Perth, Australia bicyclist was lucky to escape with a case of ‘roo road rash after becoming the latest victim of a jay-jumping kangaroo.

A Japanese newspaper says the best way to explore Okinawa is on two wheels.

Seoul, Korea was expecting 5,000 bicyclists for a 13-mile annual bike parade on Saturday.

 

Competitive Cycling

A Scottish cyclist broke the 97-year old hour British hour record — on a Penny Farthing.

 

Finally…

Now your bike can have its own little house, just like the dog. If you’re going to ride on the freeway, at least take the lane.

And I’d be pretty pissed if bike riders whizzed near me, too.

Morning Links: Parking on Lake Balboa bike path, safety PSAs & stupid driver tricks, and Bourdain was one of us

Before we start, be sure to read our rare Saturday post if you missed it over the weekend.

Now hold on, because we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.

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Let’s start with this email I received from danger d.

This Sunday June 10,2018 I was riding through the Balboa Lake Park Recreation area and came across no less than 18 cars parked right in the center of the Class 1 Shared pathway (r.e. Bike Path). I stopped and spoke with one person in their vehicle just parking on the path and explained that they were on a bike path and pointed out how they had just almost doored me but the lady said she saw no path, pointed to the center yellow line and said “I’m just parking behind the other cars!”

At this point I saw a fire department crew across the street and asked them to call parking enforcement, it was 2:36pm. I then called parking enforcement myself and talked to someone who identified themselves as operator 501 and told me someone else had called (the firemen) and that it would be taken care of. So here are the photos at 5:30 pm, 3 hours later, not one citation, no towing, NOTHING!

Obviously the weak plastic pylons which are mostly already run over are of NO use at all as a deterrent and I believe that it is high time that the city put a red curb, or K walls or at the very least some NO PARKING signs up at this location to stop this once and for all as it happens EVERY WEEKEND and as many times as I have called there has been ABSOLUTELY NO ENFORCEMENT AT ALL.

I am not even going to get into the 10 or so cars that I saw WELL into the grassy areas of the park near picnic benches, parked by people who think it’s OK to just drive across the bike path into the grass and park wherever they want! I guess they are correct because our city does NOTHING about this AT ALL.

When will something be done? Where is Vision Zero? City councilmember? Mayor?

 

This is ridiculous.

Dangerous, too, since it forces riders out into the street where drivers aren’t expecting them.

The law is pretty clear on the subject. CVC 21211 explicitly states that no one is allowed to block a bike path, except under very limited circumstances.

And parking the family car isn’t one of them.

21211.  

(a) No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting, or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist.

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On the other hand, they get it.

Ireland’s County Mayo celebrates Bike Week by telling people not to park or drive in bike lanes.

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Illinois introduces a new public safety announcement, saying we all have to pay attention, especially at intersections, because traffic safety is literally a matter of life and death.

But fails to consider that only it’s only the people in the big, dangerous machines pose a significant risk to others.

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Great video from New Orleans advocacy group Bike Easy, in so many ways.

In just over two minutes, they manage to personalize bicyclists, while showing them as part of the fabric of city.

And making it clear you don’t have own spandex or a fancy new bike — and can carry a trombone while you ride.

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Anthony Bourdain was one of us, riding a tandem in France just the day before taking his own life.

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A popular Instagram account draws over half a million likes for comparing bicyclists to annoying creatures.

Never mind that like ’em or not, all of the above are vital to the environment.

Thanks to BerKelly for the heads-up.

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This is who we share the roads with.

Thanks to Censorthis for the link.

Then there’s the New York garbage truck driver who refused a breathalyzer test after plowing into nine — count ’em, nine — parked cars. Not surprisingly, he was booked for DUI.

And a Boston hit-and-run driver makes it clear that killing an 80-year old man and driving away afterwards is just no big thing. And it’s not his fault he was speeding, or chose to hit the horn instead of the brakes — let alone aimed at a human being instead of a pole.

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Nothing like a little role reversal, with the one on the bike giving the tickets for a change.

Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the tip.

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Let’s spend a few moments on the Lime beat.

The company has established a beachhead in Santa Monica, going head-to-head with locally owned Bird. The new Lime-S e-scooters, developed in conjunction with Segway, will cost $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute of riding time; you can get a $3 credit towards your first ride with the code LIMEWITHLA1.

Meanwhile, a writer for the Guardian questions what the owners of LimeBike were thinking when they programed their scooters to threaten to call the police if they’re not unlocked. Especially in neighborhoods with people of color, who may be just a tad sensitive to that.

Santa Barbara wasted no time running Lime out of town, after the company placed 100 scooters on the sidewalks in the morning, and the city impounded them in the afternoon.

And nice move from Lime, who have partnered with PayNearMe to make their bikeshare bikes available to people without bank accounts or smartphones, providing 100 pedal bike rides for just $5. No word on whether it will work with their scooters, as well.

………

It was World Naked Bike Ride weekend around the world, as people stripped down to demand safer streets in —

……….

Local

A new UCLA video explains why transit use is declining, and what to do about it. Besides putting bigger bike racks on buses.

CiclaValley re-escapes to the Old Ridge Route.

Curbed asks if preparations for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics could permanently solve LA’s traffic problems, like the ’84 Olympics did for two brief, shining weeks.

Speaking of Curbed LA, they’re looking for a freelance transportation writer.

 

State

A half-mile extension of a Napa bike path could lead riders past a winery to the Napa River, near a historic ferry landing.

 

National

Strong Towns addresses the perennial debate over parking spaces versus bike lanes, showing proof bike lanes benefit businesses, even if that means the loss of parking.

Consumer Reports considers what they’ve learned from crashes involving self-driving cars, concluding that drivers can’t rely on their cars to do all the driving, and they still have trouble recognizing humans.

A few more rides to add to your bike bucket list, as Geotab maps out America’s quietest bike routes for when you need a little sanity break from city life.

Who says bike riders aren’t tough? A Denver women is going forward with plans for a 400-mile charity ride from Mount Kilimanjaro across Tanzania to the ocean — despite being the victim of a hit-and-run on Thursday.

A Michigan town fell about 350 bikes short in their attempt to set a new world record for the longest line of moving bicycles.

Columbus OH may have slipped past Indianapolis in size, but still lags behind in bike infrastructure. Then again, so does Los Angeles.

As we’ve noted before, NBC weatherman Al Roker is one of us. Or at least he used to be, since someone stole his bike outside a New York radio station.

New York’s Daily News gets it, saying the state must renew the law allowing speed cameras, double their number and increase the penalties for repeat violators. Meanwhile, speed cameras are illegal in California, and no one is doing anything about it.

 

International

A Canadian man is riding across the country to raise funds for mental health after being diagnosed with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder last year.

Yet another dockless bikeshare company has invaded North America, as China’s U-bicycle has come to Western Canada and the University of Victoria.

Great idea. A Winnipeg festival brings together bike riders and wheelchair users for a tour of the city.

A 17-year old Toronto man faces first degree murder charges, and two others are being sought by police, for intentionally running down a bike rider, then getting out to punch and kick him before stabbing him to death.

Nice piece from the Guardian, as a bike rider says the kindness he was shown after a fall on a bike path restored his faith in ordinary people.

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. Someone has been leaving tacks on a UK bike path, flattening the tires of several riders, including children.

They get it, too. The Zambia Road Safety Trust says the country needs to put people first, not cars, in the country’s transport systems.

A New Zealand cyclist says there’s no need to improve streets for bike riders, because the city has lots of parks, and he doesn’t see many bike riders on the roads now. Which may be because there aren’t any bikeways yet.

Malaysian bicyclists appeal to the country’s transport minister to provide bike lanes, signage and bike traffic signals to improve safety.

Getty Images offers pretty bikescapes created by the massive oversupply of dockless bikeshare bikes in China.

 

Competitive Cycling

Our old friend CLR Effect recaps the recent Wolfpack Hustle Forsyth Cup at the Encino Velodrome, sponsored by BikinginLA sponsor Thomas Forsyth.

The BBC talks with pro cyclist Molly Weaver about the crash that led to her depression and a quest for perfection, before her recent decision to withdraw from the sport.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to ride on the left side of a busy freeway, at least take the lane. “Oh, nothing, just a pole through the groin. How was your day?”

And weird and wonderful derailleurs through history.

 

Guest Post: The fourth open letter to the Los Angeles City Council #CrashCityHall

Dear Mayor Garcetti and City Council of LA,

In an effort to “be the change you want to see in the world,” I sold my car ten years ago and have since used my own feet, a bicycle, or the transit system to get around.  While the results of this have brought the most rewarding experiences of my life, it has also been a struggle to live without a car in a car’s world.

Drivers are becoming increasingly more distracted, careless, unsympathetic and enraged.  These behaviors cause not only car accidents but the deaths of cyclists and pedestrians, who travel without the protection of metal armor.  Why do drivers feel so entitled to the roads?  Why is this set of traits common in the majority of car owners?  It’s easy to see the answer on the streets – they’re designed specifically for cars.  With lanes designated for driving, turning and parking, there’s often no space left for a bicycle to squeeze through.  And pedestrians must be defensive even when walking through a crosswalk with a walk signal.  Drivers are impatient to share the road when they believe it belongs to them.

Every time you see a cyclist in the streets of LA, please understand the fear we’ve overcome to be there.  Please know that we have been spit at, screamed at, sworn at, had objects thrown at us, been told to “get off the road,”  have had way too many “close calls,” or have lost a fellow cyclist to careless driving or road rage.  And yet we’re still out there.  As pedestrians and cyclists we’ll continue to defend our space on the streets, but we would truly appreciate some help from our representatives.  Please take some steps to create streets that belong to everyone.   A city’s priorities are evident in it’s infrastructure and use of public space.  If you, dear City Council Members, were to add more bike lanes, create some road diets, invest in green spaces instead of parking lots – think of the message you’d send.

Sincerely,

Amanda Gohl

Pico-Union, Los Angeles, CA 90015

………

Join us tomorrow as we #CrashCityHall to demand safer streets, and urge city leaders to have the courage to do the right thing. 

  • Los Angeles City Council
  • Los Angeles City Hall
  • 200 N. Spring Street
  • 10 am

Guest Post: The third open letter to the Los Angeles City Council #CrashCityHall

We’re less than two days away from CrashCityHall on Friday to demand safer streets for people on bikes, on foot, and everyone else.

If you’re as mad as I am about the needless risks bike riders and pedestrians face on our streets — and the lack of action from city leaders — I hope you’ll join us as we crash the 10 am city council meeting. And urge the mayor and city council to have courage the courage to do the right thing. 

Since many people can’t be there in person, I’m accepting letters from people who want to have their opinions passed on to the council members at the meeting. 

Here’s the third of those #CrashCityHall letters, from Sean Meredith.

……….

From: Sean Meredith
Los Angeles, CA 90027

To Mayor Garcetti and all Los Angeles City Council members:

Ten years ago, for a combination of reasons, I began commuting by bicycle. This harrowing and freeing experience changed me even more than fatherhood. I began to open up to the inequities in our transportation system. For myself, I was willing to risk my life riding and being a second class citizen. But when I imagined myself in the shoes of people who had no option to drive a car. I thought that these folk should be able to get to school, work, or wherever they’re going without dying or feeling constantly threatened. I have since dedicated most of my free time to making biking and walking safe for people of all abilities and ages.

Our car culture is dangerous. And the safety deniers who will trample over anyone’s life to keep the status quo of car dominance are a threat to the future of our city and our world.

Ensuring that public spaces truly serve the people is vital to our daily lives and the future of our planet. This requires our society to confront its expensive commitment to modes of transportation that strangle our communities and warm our climate: cars. Making our roads safe for all users immediately improves mental and physical health outcomes for people of all ages, lessens cancer causing pollutants, and reduces carbon emissions. A world class city where walking is pleasurable, biking is viable, and public transportation is reliable will lower automobile dependency and contribute in the Oight against climate change.

In Los Angeles, pedestrians and cyclists are involved in 14% of trafOic collisions but account for 51% of the fatalities. Hundreds of lives are lost every year and hundreds more families are shattered by these tragic outcomes. Livable streets create community, support local businesses, and are a welcoming environment for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities. As transit consultant Jarrett Walker describes it, a modern city does not have the “geometry” to solve car congestion. Our best option is to develop safe, environmentally friendly alternatives.

Families who want safe streets for all are demanding courage and leadership from our city. Now is always the time to act.

Kindly,
Sean Meredith

………

There’s still time to submit a letter demanding safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and everyone else if you can’t #CrashCityHall in person this Friday.

Just email it today to ted at bikinginla dot com.

I’ll print it out and include it with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips:

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

And let me know if it’s okay to share your letter on here. I’ll be happy to put it online as a guest post leading up to Friday’s council meeting.

Guest Post: Another open letter to the Los Angeles City Council #CrashCityHall

Recently, I announced my intention to #CrashCityHall this Friday to demand safer streets.

And invited anyone who’s just as mad as I am about the needless risks bike riders and pedestrians face on our streets — and the lack of action from city leaders — to join me. And tell the mayor and city council to show have courage the courage to do the right thing. 

Since many people can’t attend a 10 am city council meeting, I’m accepting letters from people who can’t make it, but still want to have their opinions passed on to the council members at the meeting. 

Here’s the second of those #CrashCityHall letters, from Doug Moore.

………

May 18th, 2018

To Mayor Garcetti and all Los Angeles City Council members,

I write you today in an effort to get you to start thinking about how dangerous our car culture has become in Los Angeles. And to urge you, our city leaders, to implement ways to make our streets more safe for all that use them.

In so doing, these changes will bring other qualities such as reduced car noise, nicer public spaces, better air quality and stress free walking, cycling, jogging and dog walking –and yes, driving.

Being a cyclist, I am very aware of how badly our streets and boulevards have suffered because of the amount and speed of traffic.

I live in Tujunga, CD7, Council Member Monica Rodriquez district. Each morning, I bike a short way on Foothill Blvd to board LADOT Express Bus 409 to DTLA.

I de-bus at the Glendale Park & Ride, prep my bike then cycle 13 miles to my office at USC.

I travel through Glendale, to Eagle Rock Blvd/Cypress Ave (Council District 14, Jose Huizar) to the Broadway Bridge into Chinatown (Council district 1, Gil Cedillo) to Hill street, then to Olympic Blvd then Figueroa (Council District 9, Curren Price) and finally to campus. In the afternoon I reverse this trip – with a slightly different route. On Fridays I drive.

I would like to provide the following undisputable facts, that come from years of this type of cycling, this type of intimacy with traffic, this type of exposure to our roadways:

  • Our streets are more dangerous than they have ever been – mostly because of excess speed.
  • Drivers are more distracted than ever before in our city’s history.
  • Motorists are driving while smoking weed. Alot!
  • Many drivers are attentive and share the road. But there is a disturbing trendwhere higher numbers of drivers are doing just the opposite.
  • Painted cycling infrastructure such as “Sharrows”, striped lanes, colored lanes,pedestrian crosswalk demarcation & similar are often seen as ‘optional’ for motorists.We all know about the latest trend of motorist hit-and-run tragedies. These have left other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists severely injured or dead.Here in Tujunga, in April, a DOUBLE FATIL hit and run occurred on Foothill Blvd. The driver, as of this writing, has yet to be apprehended. An innocent couple, engage to be married have perished from our community.

Where has this selfish, narcissistic attitude from drivers come from?

We all know about the speed of traffic on major roads and boulevards is dangerous even at legal limits, but when most drivers are 10, 15, or even 20 mph above and beyond, the danger level is unacceptable.

Where does this need-to-speed attitude come from?

We all know about the horrible traffic congestion in our city and how it continually downgrades the quality of life here. We skip get-togethers. We forgo dinners and kids sports and other social engagements across town – because “the traffic getting to the Westside from Eagle Rock is a nightmare”.

It’s not funny anymore. It’s a serious soul-sucking way of life in our city. Why have we surrendered our social connections and quality of life?

The answer to all these is the same: Our run-away, out-of-control car culture. We’ve reached “peak-car” in our city.

I know that you, leaders of this city, who are smart and insightful and understanding, know this too. You can see it as we all do.

We must start to make changes. I don’t have all the answers, but there are ideas out there that organically reduce traffic speeds. That help separate cars from people walking. Jogging. Cycling. Walking the dog. That make our public roadways safer for everyone who uses them, including motorists.

Widen the sidewalks, not freeways. Add separated bike lanes, not car lanes. Make streets and boulevards pleasant. Green with more trees and shade. More quiet to provide a nice place to shop. To hang-out with neighbors. To read on a bench.

As far as safety, traffic cops at critical intersections help so much! Intersections are where many of the dangers lie for cars vs walkers and bikers. I love seeing these guys when approaching an intersection, whether by car or on bike. Everyone is instantly on best behavior and courteous.

Getting buy-in and approval on these changes is the hard part, of course. Motorists tend to seethe at reduced speeds and “perceived” increase in commute times. Reduced lanes. Less parking. But this is the right direction for Los Angles. The right thing to do in your district.

We’ve tried over and over to increase the car infrastructure thinking that these projects would help. Did widening the 405 Fwy really help? What a huge, expensive, time consuming project.

It’s time to swing the other way on transportation projects. Less “car-centric”, more “people-centric”. Motorists are people too, and they’ll appreciate these changes.

When faced with options in difficult circumstances such as this, an upside is this: it’s always easy to pick out the correct option. It’s the one that tends to be avoided. It’s the one we put at the bottom of the list. It’s the one that’s the hardest.

Why? Because the right thing to do is always the hardest thing to do. That’s a fact of human nature.

I know you are thinking: “Change the car-culture, yeah, right.” But it can be done. In bits and pieces. You will gain converts. It can build momentum and you must try, as lives of our residents are depending on safe passage to work, school and the market.

In the book “Profiles of Courage”, check out the examples of other great leaders, who have acted bravely. Acted with integrity. Gone against the opinions of their constituents to do the right thing.

As a cyclist (yes and a motorist too) I am growing weary of seeing yet more Ghost Bike installations that signify the death of a fellow rider.

As a motorist, I’m continually saddened and outraged to see yet another makeshift memorial of candles, Crosses and flowers where a Mom or Dad or son or daughter or young couple was killed in a crosswalk.

We can do better and am counting on you all to have the courage to do so.

Thank you for your time today. Be brave. Do the right thing. And finally, a reminder that it’s Bike Month. Get out and ride. You’ll be glad you did.

Sincerely,

Doug Moore, cyclist, motorist, pedestrian, resident

………

If you can’t #CrashCityHall on Friday, email a letter demanding safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and everyone else to ted at bikinginla dot com by this Wednesday.

I’ll print them out and include them with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips:

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

And let me know if it’s okay to share your letter on here. I’ll be happy to put it online as a guest post leading up to Friday’s council meeting.

Morning Links: LA’s hit-and-run epidemic, LA Mobility Plan could save lives, and Metro Bike may reduce fares

It looks like the press has finally noticed what’s happening on our streets.

In a piece for the Los Angeles Daily News, Josh Cain writes about the carnage of recent weeks.

The increase in bicycle deaths came despite what police officials said at the meeting was an across-the-board drop in serious traffic collisions in the city so far this year — fatal collisions and crashes resulting in serious injuries were down 10 percent, Moore said. Fatal vehicle-on-pedestrian crashes were also down significantly, falling 25 percent.

There were 18 cyclists killed in Los Angeles for all of 2017, and police officials said after the fatal collisions in April, the city appeared to be on track to match that total again…

Los Angeles statistics collected as part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic deaths showed that while all deaths from traffic collisions over the last three years, cyclist deaths continued to rise. In the San Fernando Valley, there were just three cyclist deaths in 2015, while last year there were eight.

In case you’re wondering, this is why I’m going to City Hall on the 18th, to demand our elected leaders have the courage to do the right thing.

It’s time to call the city council on their inaction on Vision Zero, and their repeated capitulations to traffic safety deniers in shelving vital lane reductions and other street safety projects.

And doing little more than talking about doing something to halt hit-and-run, while bicyclists and pedestrians — and even motorists — continue to suffer the consequences of their inaction.

………

Speaking of which, if you can’t join me on the 18th — or even if you can — feel free to send a letter demanding for safer streets for you, me and everyone else. Just email your letter to me by Wednesday, May 16th to ted at bikinginla dot com.

I’ll print them out and include them with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor, containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips if you plan to write a letter.

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

………

A new study from the LA County Department of Health concludes that if Los Angeles actually built out the city’s Mobility Plan 2035 — which seems highly unlikely at this point — it could prevent up to 4,600 cases of cardiovascular disease each year, while saving over $160 million per year in health costs.

Which is just one more reason city leaders need to do the right thing. And one less reason to wonder what that is.

………

Metro is recommending much needed rate changes to its Bike Metro bikeshare program that would finally make renting a bike a single time cost the same as a bus ride for 30 minutes or less.

………

CBS Sunday Morning looks at Manny Silva, Compton’s Godfather of lowrider bikes.

………

The #1 phrase that belongs on the bicycling scrapheap of history: “In a crash between a bike and a car, the car is going to win every time.”

Seriously, there is absolutely no one who rides a bike — and pretty much no one on earth — who doesn’t already know that.

And it’s not a question of who wins.

It’s someone’s life.

………

Local

Bike the Vote LA is hosting a 2018 June Primary Ballot Party next Wednesday to discuss options for the upcoming election.

Reseda residents say the LA River bike path has become a campsite for the homeless and IV drug users in the community.

Culver City lists their Bike Month events, while a Pasadena website looks at the upcoming Bike Week events in that city.

The South Pasadena Police Department will be conducting stepped-up bike and pedestrian safety operations throughout this month. You know the drill — ride to the letter of the law until you’re outside their jurisdiction. You don’t want to celebrate Bike Month with a traffic ticket.

Bike SGV is hosting their first-ever bird watching ride this Saturday.

The long-awaited Arroyo Seco Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail is nearing completion, if they can just figure out how to keep people using it from getting hit with golf balls.

 

State

The Orange County Register maps where Southern California’s deadly crashes occur in a sea of blood red dots.

San Diego’s three-year old Vision Zero program is focusing on 15 deadly intersections to improve safety.

A San Francisco writer says she has good reason not to ride her bike right now, but she’s not ready to put it into storage.

The Press Democrat looks at custom bike builders in Sonoma County.

Sacramento installs its first parking-protected bike lanes in the downtown area.

Our own Phil Gaimon goes riding in Yosemite.

 

National

President Trump once again criticized former Secretary of State John Kerry for breaking his leg while riding his bike, saying you don’t enter a bike race at 73, and you’d never see him (Trump) in a bike race. Except Kerry was only 71 at the time of the crash, he was just out for a bike ride with full security during a break in tense negotiations, not competing in a race, and more than a few people older than that still race. And at least Kerry can ride a bike.

Gear Junkie looks at surprises in People for Bikes’ new list of the nation’s most bike friendly cities; meanwhile, Cheyenne WY ranked near the bottom, scoring just 1.2 out of a possible 5 points. Which just goes to prove that not much has changed since I tried to ride there decades ago, and vowed never to do it again.

A CEO in the energy field says Houston streets remain dangerous because the city doesn’t have the same sort of safety culture found in private industry, and that department heads should be fired if they can’t solve the problem.

There’s a special place in hell for the red light-running driver who struck an Illinois bike rider with her car, then got out to pick up her license plate before driving off and leaving him bleeding in the street.

Pittsburg cycling icon and two-time RAAM champ Danny Chew competed in his first marathon as a handcyclist, 20 months after he was paralyzed in a bicycling crash.

New York bicyclists get a little divine protection at the annual Blessing of the Bicycles; LA’s will take place at Good Samaritan Hospital on May 15th.

New York announces plans to put bike lanes on six bridges crossing the Harlem River, making the already bike-friendly city that much safer for everyone.

The New York Post starts by saying construction delays are turning a New York bike path into an obstacle course, then naturally have to blame people “biking out here like maniacs, like they’re in the Tour de France.”

Filmmaker Casey Neistat records a video telling the NYPD to focus on fixing problem streets instead of cracking down on bicyclists.

 

International

The body of a missing German bicyclist was found near the base of a 600 foot cliff, a day after his Polish riding companion was found nearby; both deaths are believed to be accidental.

They get it. Eighty-six percent of Victoria, British Columbia residents support more bikeways as an investment in the future, whether they ride bikes or not.

A Manitoba tribal chief is calling for safety improvements on the unpaved highway where three boys were killed while walking and riding their bikes.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. Prosecutors in Halifax, Canada drop charges of failing to yield to a vehicle against a driver who injured a bike rider, after concluding that a bicycle isn’t a vehicle because it doesn’t have a motor. Which basically gives drivers permission to do anything they want to anyone who isn’t in a car.

A London man was hospitalized in critical condition after a collision with a man riding a bike near a busy tube station. A reminder to always use caution around pedestrians, because they’re the only ones more vulnerable than we are. And they don’t always use caution around us.

Scouting Scotland’s ancient refuge huts for hikers and bikepackers.

Paris is demanding emergency action after a disastrous change in management companies for the city’s famed Vélib’ bikeshare system has left much of it inoperable.

Add this one to your bike bucket list — spending a week riding along the coast of Northern Italy.

 

Competitive Cycling

Outside explains how you can watch all the top bike races for less than $200 a year.

Chris Froome entered the Giro already banged up after crashing while scouting the Jerusalem time trial course; an Israeli billionaire bike lover is sponsoring the race to get more people in the country on bikes.

A Turkish rider was forced to withdraw from the new Israel-based cycling team in the face of death threats following Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

A 20-year old student at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia is now a double U.S. Collegiate Cycling champ, after winning the road championship to go with the mountain biking title she won last fall.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 70-year old Kiwi cyclist keeps a deathbed promise to his friend to compete in race around a New Zealand mountain and finishes second, despite saying he’s not a racer; his friend had won the same race over 60 years earlier.

Once again, a pro cyclist has been injured in a crash with a race moto, as British hill climb champ Joscelin Lowden suffered a broken clavicle after crashing with a security bike. Maybe someday, race organizers will finally figure out that motor vehicles don’t belong in the damn peloton.

Then again, it’s not just the cyclists who are at risk from race vehicles.

 

Finally…

Why not tri bamboo? Your next tires could be 3D printed, not pumped.

And hi-viz may not be the best choice if you don’t want to be noticed — like a mob assassin, for instance.

 

Morning Links: Storm City Hall for safer streets on May 18th, and killer Kalamazoo driver convicted of murder

As the great prophet Howard Beale once said, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

And I’m willing to march on City Hall by myself if that’s what it takes.

I’ve spent the last several weeks trying, and failing, to get support from LA advocacy groups for a plan for bike riders and pedestrians to storm city hall on Bike to Work Day this month to demand safer streets.

While I understand their need for campaigns and strategic planning, too many people are dying right now. And too many city councilmembers are backing away from the promises we were made.

So if this isn’t the right time for action, when is?

As I struggled with my own anger over the recent rash of bicycling fatalities and fatal hit-and-runs, I kept coming back to the questions of if not me, then who? And if not now, when?

Do we wait until someone else dies? Or twenty more people?

Do we wait until the next road diet is cancelled by councilmembers caving to angry drivers and traffic safety deniers?

And when is the right time to demand demand safer streets? As the Chinese proverb famously says, the best time would have been 20 years ago.

The second best time is now.

It’s my intention to give the mayor and every member of the council a copy of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing, and see if they get the message. If we can raise just $400 in the next week to cover the costs, I’ll do it.

Besides, we only need another $375, thanks to a donation from Douglas M to get things started.

But either way, I’m going to be there on May 18th, even if that means standing alone before the city council.

Because something needs to be done now.

I hope you’ll join me. And help spread the word, so we can get as many people as possible to show up that day.

And I hope you’ll consider making a contribution to help send a message to the council that it’s time to show a little courage and do the right thing.

Update: I’ve been reminded that the LA City Council doesn’t meet on Thursdays, so doing this on Bike to Work Day won’t work. 

The question is whether it’s better do storm city hall on Tuesday, May 15th after the Blessing of the Bicycles, Wednesday the 16th before the Ride of Silence, or Friday the 18th before Bike Night at Union Station.

So what works better for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Update 2: It looks like Friday, May 18th works for more people. So that’s the day we’re storming City Hall.

………

Guilty.

In a verdict that shouldn’t surprise anyone, the driver responsible for the Kalamazoo massacre has been convicted on five counts of second degree murder for killing five bike riders in a drug-driven 2016 crash, and injuring another four.

Charles Pickett Jr. was also convicted of five counts of causing death while driving under the influence, after allegedly popping a handful of pain pills before getting behind the wheel. In addition, he had meth in his system as well as alcohol at the time of the crash.

Pickett now faces a possible life sentence when he’s sentenced next month.

A well-deserved one.

Thanks to Adam Ginsberg for the heads-up.

………

This is the cost of traffic violence.

In a heartbreaking story, a writer looks at the devastating effects of a Texas hit-and-run.

Boston magazine offers an in-depth examination of the events leading up to the death of a brilliant surgeon when she was right hooked by a truck driver while riding to work. And the police investigation that went out of its way to blame the victim.

………

Local

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined with other mayors around the world to issue a Commitment to Green and Healthy Streets, envisioning “a future where walking, cycling, and shared transport are how the majority of citizens move around our cities.” However, as Streetsblog points out, it takes more than lip service to be a climate mayor. It will be very hard for LA to live up to that commitment as long as city councilmembers are free to cancel safety and Complete Streets projects to appease angry drivers.

Streetsblog examines the dangers faced by many bike riders on the streets that go well beyond traffic safety. Like the 14-year old bike rider gunned down in a quiet Azusa neighborhood yesterday.

 

State

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) will relaunch their Go Human campaign throughout their six-county region for Bike Month.

Celebrate Bike Month with ten bike trails within ten miles of Morro Bay.

 

National

NACTO presents a nationwide study of bikeshare in the US; while docked bikes outnumber dockless bikes 56% to 44%, only 4% of the actual trips are taken by dockless bikeshare. Something that’s likely to change as dockless bikeshare matures in this country.

In an absolutely brilliant move — sarcasm intendedVista Outdoor responds to the recent boycott by bike retailers over the AR-15 rifles made by one of their subsidiaries by deciding to stop selling guns. And get those darn bike people off their backs by getting rid of their bicycling equipment divisions, as well.

You can now control your LED-lighted Lumos bike helmet with your Apple watch, assuming you have either one. Or buy them both at your friendly neighborhood Apple Store if you don’t.

NPR looks at the LaneSpotter app, which allows users to flag problems with bikeways in real time, like a WAZE for bike riders.

Building bamboo bikes in Oahu.

A Portland nonprofit intends to collect 1,000 bicycles in a single day to refurbish and donate to kids in need.

A Washington sheriff’s deputy says police have to actually observe a traffic violation, such as a violation of the three-foot passing law, in order to write a ticket. Unfortunately, the law is no different here in California.

A Seattle website says the ebike craze has become a verifiable movement in the city.

A Spokane WA bike commuter compares bicyclists to the NRA, and says some bike riders in the city are just jerks. Bicyclists are human, some humans are jerks. Therefore, some bicyclists will inevitably be jerks. Just like some drivers and pedestrians. 

Forget protein bars. Austin TX bike riders get free tacos for breakfast on Bike to Work Day.

Houston residents are calling for changes after two people are killed in the same spot while riding bikes in the last two years; a crowdfunding campaign raised $15,000 to send the latest victim’s body back to India.

Evanston IL city aldermen reject a call to remove a parking-protected bike lane, after a female alderman — alderperson? — calls them “an absolute disaster at rush hour.”

Speaking of Evanston, a local man discovers how it feels when his bike has a starring role in a police chase.

New York council members call on the mayor to stop the city’s ridiculous ebike ban, and talk with the food delivery riders who use them to develop new rules.

 

International

Cycling Industry News considers why the bike industry has such a hard time catching counterfeiters. Which is why you should always buy from a reputable source; any deal that seems too good to be true probably is.

An Ottawa TV station says people are taking to bicycles and ebikes to fight rising gas prices.

Cambridge, England council candidates consider calls to ban parents from driving their kids to school. Unlike the US, where schools attempt to ban kids from biking or walking to class.

One more to add to your bike bucket list — Spain’s sun-soaked Mallorca island.

Tel Aviv, Israel opens the first velodrome in the Middle East.

Around 50 Brisbane, Australia bicyclists stage a die-in to call for better bike safety, tying up traffic during the morning rush hour. While the technique can be effective, we don’t win any friends by inconveniencing people just trying to get to work.

 

Finally…

Ten ways to tell others on the road that an angel just got its wings. Call it a secure dockless bikeshare parking spot.

And the Foos are some of us, too.

Most of them, anyway.

 

Morning Links: O’Farrell caves to Temple St. drivers, Mobility Plan under attack, and reward in LB hit-and-run

In a decision that shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention lately, yet another LA council member has caved to the demands of the city’s entitled motorists.

This time on Temple Street.

Despite the city’s lip service to Vision Zero, it’s clear, to paraphrase Casablanca, that the deaths of a few innocent people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy town.

The latest example came on the other end of Temple, after Councilmember Gil Cedillo had already killed plans for a lane reduction in his district.

Now neighboring Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell has joined him, citing a lack of significant, widespread support for the vital safety project.

If that’s going to be the standard, we might as well toss Vision Zero in the scrapheap of Los Angeles history right now. Because we may never get a majority of Angelenos to believe that saving lives trumps saving a few minutes on their commute.

City officials are elected to do the right thing, not the popular thing. And make the difficult choices that they know will prove correct down the road, even if they initially lack “significant, widespread support.”

Like saving lives, for instance.

Instead, O’Farrell became just the latest LA councilmember to back down in the face of organized opposition from angry motoring activists, settling for a number of incremental improvements to the street that may make it a little safer and slightly more pleasant, but likely do nothing to stop speeding drivers from running down more innocent people.

In part, because of attitudes like this from Rachael Luckey, a member of the Rampart Village Neighborhood Council.

A road diet on Temple, Luckey says, would have been too extreme.

“I hate to use the words ‘acceptable loss,’ but we do live in a metropolitan city, and it’s a dangerous world we live in,” she says. “As far as Temple Street is concerned, I don’t know that it is a crisis per-se. If we were seeing 20, 30, 50 people run over, I would be a lot more alarmed.”

A California Highway Patrol collisions database shows that from 2009 to 2017 on the stretch of Temple Street between Beverly and Beaudry, 34 people have been severely injured and five people have died in traffic crashes.

I wonder if she’d still consider it an acceptable loss if one of those victims was a member of her own family.

And once again, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti was too busy running for president to weigh in on one of his own signature programs, exchanging pledged commitment to Vision Zero for zero involvement.

When Vision Zero was first announced in Los Angeles, I questioned whether the city’s leaders had the courage to made the tough choices necessary to save lives, and help make this a healthier, more vibrant and livable city.

The answer, sadly, is no.

………

On a related subject, a new journal article from Chapman University assistant law professor Ernesto Hernandez Lopez examines the legal aspects of the LA Mobility Plan.

And the auto-centric bikelash that threatens to derail it.

Here’s how he summarizes the paper, titled Bike Lanes, Not Cars: Mobility and the Legal Fight for Future Los Angeles:

  • Examines LA’s Mobility Plan 2035
  • Summarizes lessons from biking scholarship
  • Uses these lessons to make sense of the litigation on the Mobility Plan 2035
  • Suggests how law and politics can help city bike lane policies and advocacy and policy making for these
  • Relates bike lanes to Vision Zero (safety), “first and last mile” (intermodal), and mobility (de-car)
  • Correlates the litigation and LA experiences with Vehicular Cycling and Automobility theories

………

The family of Cole Micek have called on the public to help identify the two drivers who smashed into him as he rode his bike in Long Beach earlier this month, leaving him to die in the street.

Los Angeles County is now offering a $25,000 reward to help bring his killers to justice.

………

The San Gabriel River trail will be closed at Carson Street in Long Beach today for an emergency repair due to water damage. Riders will be detoured to Town Center Drive.

The path should be reopened on Saturday, unless they run into unexpected problems.

………

By now, you’ve probably seen the dashcam video of the first fatal crash caused by a self-driving car, which occurred earlier this week in Tempe AZ.

If not, take a few minutes to see if you can reconcile what you see with the local police chief’s insistence that the victim, a homeless woman walking her bicycle across the street, darted out of nowhere into the car’s path.

Right.

Then look closely at the interior view, which shows the clearly distracted emergency human driver looking down the whole time, until just before the moment of impact.

The car should have been able to detect the victim; the fact that it didn’t indicates a major flaw in the system. And the woman behind the wheel definitely should have, if she’d been paying the slighted bit of attention.

Correction: The initial stories identified the driver as a man, Raphael Vasquez. However, it appears that Vasquez has been living as woman, Raphaela Vasquez, since being released from prison in 2005. Thanks to Andy Stow for the correction

Writing for Outside, Peter Flax says something like this was just a matter of time and shows that autonomous cars aren’t ready for cyclists. Or pedestrians, evidently.

A motoring website insists that Elaine Herzberg’s death isn’t just Uber’s problem, it’s everyone’s.

Curbed’s Alissa Walker observes this is the moment we decide that human lives matter more than cars. If only.

Streetsblog says if self-driving cars aren’t safer than human drivers, they don’t belong on the streets.

According to Treehugger, the fatal crash shows we need to fix our cities, not our cars.

The head of a European bike industry trade group responds that bike riders will have to wear beacons to identify themselves to autonomous vehicles. Why stop there? Why not implant all newborns with transponders so self-driving cars can see them regardless of how they travel, and choose to kill the one person crossing the street rather than the three people in a car.

The Wall Street Journal reports the human behind the wheel — it’s hard to call her the driver — was a convicted felon with a history of traffic violations.

The AP says it raises questions about Uber’s self-driving system. Gee, you think?

Just hours later, another self-driving Uber car was caught running a red light in San Francisco. So apparently, they do operate just like human drivers.

On the other hand, a Florida writer says he’ll worry about autonomous vehicles the first time a robot flips the bird and runs him off the road.

………

Local

Great piece from Peter Flax on the short-lived and sadly lamented Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race, which he calls the most captivating, inclusive and deliciously bat-shit crazy bike race in the history of the sport.

Bike the Vote LA has released their voter guide for next month’s elections in LA County.

A former Los Angeles Times staff writer calls LA streets a contested space where no improvement — such as the Venice Blvd Great Streets project — goes unpunished.

Caught on video: CiclaValley captures a red light-running driver who checks most scofflaw motorist boxes.

Another from CiclaValley, as he notices the unwelcome addition of another traffic lane in Griffith Park.

The LA Daily News examines the bikelash against dockless LimeBike bikeshare bikes scattered around the CSUN campus.

Bicycling talks with the founder of LA-based women’s bikewear maker Machines for Freedom.

Monrovia partners with Lyft and dockless bikeshare provider LimeBike to improve mobility options for residents.

Forbes talks with Harvey Mudd College Professor Paul Steinberg about his bike-based course that takes students on a two-wheeled tour of the LA region to explore the challenges of creating bicycle-friendly cities.

 

State

A San Francisco writer describes the bike ride that hooked him for life.

You’ve got to be kidding. Life is cheap in Yolo County, where a garbage truck driver walked in a plea deal in the death of a bike-riding college professor after pleading no contest to vehicular manslaughter. And was rewarded with a deferred judgement and a lousy 80 hours of community service.

 

National

We missed this one from last week. If you have a Louis Garneau Course helmet, it could be subject to a safety recall.

Writing for Outside, Joe Lindsey says the Vista Outdoors boycott was doomed from the start, despite media attention.

Eugene, OR decides to make a six-block test road diet permanent, concluding it was worth the effort despite initial concerns. Sort of what might happen here if more city officials had the guts to actually try it.

Traffic delays caused by highway construction enticed an El Paso, Texas man to sell his truck and buy a motorized bicycle, improving his health and saving at least $800 a month.

A Milwaukee newspaper reminds us that we’re just a week away from 30 days of cycling.

The Michigan state legislature moves forward with a three-foot passing law.

Another one we missed: A New York professor who doesn’t ride a bike explains why he still supports bike lanes, and why he feels safer on streets with them.

The Wall Street Journal looks at cycling attire that doubles as office wear. If you can get past their paywall.

A tragic story from North Carolina, where a hit-and-run driver left the rider of a motorized bicycle lying in the road, where he was subsequently struck by four other drivers.

 

International

Cycling Weekly considers the symptoms, tests and recovery for concussions. Sooner or later, everyone comes off their bike, and chances are, you can’t count on your helmet to protect you from TBIs, because that’s not what most helmets are designed to do.

CNBC examines the increasingly green future of public transportation, including bicycles.

A new reports says 43% of the Ontario, Canada bike riders killed between 2010 and 2015 were struck from behind. And 25% were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Montreal bike riders are about to get their first bike boulevard, aka a velorue. Which LA riders can only look upon with envy from afar.

Wired says London may have reached peak cycling unless they can get more women and non-white men on two wheels.

They get it. A British website says yes, the country’s road rules need to be modernized, but adding offenses for riding a bike is no place to start.

A 30-year old man is bicycling across India to collect stories.

South Korean bike paths are now officially open to ped-assist ebikes, and riders will no longer need a drivers license.

The president of Air Asia has apologized after video of airline employees recklessly damaging bicycles in Kuala Lumpur goes viral; to make up for it, they’re letting bikes fly free next month.

 

Competitive Cycling

After years of denying it was even a problem, cycling’s governing body announced plans to use a mobile X-ray machine to catch motor dopers, who may have a drone hidden inside their bikes.

A young Canadian cyclist looks at the problem of sexism in cycling.

A pharmacist says it’s time to finally ban the pain killer tramadol in cycling. No shit.

 

Finally…

Nothing like putting a few miles on your bike every year. At least we have the socialists on our side.

And a brief look at Toronto, where the Idaho Stop Law already applies to drivers.

Just like LA. And everywhere else.

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